SINGAPORE (AFP) – A convicted Malaysian drug trafficker was hanged in Singapore on Friday, officials said, after the city-state rejected last minute efforts to save him.

The Malaysian government — which decided earlier this month to abolish the death penalty — had asked neighbouring Singapore to spare the 31-year-old man from the gallows on humanitarian grounds.

But Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement late Friday that Prabu N Pathmanathan was executed in Singapore’s Changi Prison earlier in the day, in the presence of family members and a representative from the Malaysian embassy.

The ministry said the Malaysian government had asked Singapore to spare the man on humanitarian grounds but respects the city-state’s laws.

Capital punishment, which is carried out by hanging, is a legacy of British colonial rule in both countries.

Pathmanathan was sentenced to death in 2014 for trafficking 227.82 grams (7.97 ounces) of heroin into Singapore, media reports said.

Family lawyer N. Surendran said in a statement that the family received a letter from the office of the Singapore president on the eve of the execution denying their appeal for clemency. The family has now claimed the body, their lawyer added.

There was no comment from the Singapore government.

Amnesty International, which had opposed the execution, urged Singapore to follow the example of Malaysia under the government of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who was swept to power in May elections.

Malaysia’s cabinet earlier this month decided to abolish capital punishment, a prelude to parliament amending the law.

A moratorium on executions will be imposed in the meantime, with more than 1,200 people on death row set to win a reprieve.

“This cruel and irreversible punishment has no place in any society, as more than two-thirds of the world’s countries have come to recognise,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Amnesty International’s Singapore researcher.

Singapore however has maintained that capital punishment is an effective crime deterrent and is crucial to fighting drugs.

Amnesty said it is aware of six executions carried out in Singapore this year and eight in 2017, all for drug offences.